3.03.2009

Skittlegate


I have been very reluctant to blog about Skittlegate....too many voices reverberating in the echo chamber and enough so to make one head's spin. But after being called out a few times, I'd like to share just a few thoughts on why I think Skittles.com deserves more than simple dismissal as a failure....

I like Skittles.com-- not for the tactical execution but for challenging the notion of what it means to be a brand online, or what an online brand presence is or could be.

The Twitter echo chamber is crying "copy cat!" because Modernista already did something similar, but to focus on that is a red herring. It mattereth not that someone did something similar or "did it before." Its about the concept and pushing boundaries beyond our comfort zone. Should we not make branded YouTube channels because "its already been done"? (caveat, there are lots of reason to or not to build a branded YouTube channel, this was just for argument's sake)

Have we gotten so bristled that we relish in stamping out experimentation before it has a chance to evolve from its early sloppy, ugly stages?

Is Skittles.com all that novel or innovative? Does it follow all the tenets of “engaging in social media”? No. But frankly, that’s not the point. Getting us past our singular view of what it means to have a brand presence online is going be sloppy and ugly… but better to get our hands dirty than stay in one place.


I get it, I get all the reasons why it FAILS...but can we offer up solutions on what would make it WIN? Its easy (and lazy and sloppy) to find fault, but lets put this collective brain power to work on what could be, not what is wrong.

And yes, I am completely guilty of trashing experimentation. A while ago I wrongly lambasted Razorfish for their JC Penney Facebook Connect microsite. Do I now think the implementation/execution of that site was great? Not necessarily, but they were the first out of the gate to experiment with the exciting new FBC API and that alone deserves major kuddos.

The course of ego-infused criticism will not help us move forward. Challenging what we know, what we're used to is not always that fun. And yes, its going to be messy, ill-conceived and poorly executed at times. But what a wonderful chance we have with the Twitter community and beyond to use our collective intelligence to promote new ideas and constructive feedback that does not stifle or silence experimentation, but rather celebrates and guides it. What do you say?

6 comments:

faris said...

Hello!

So - yes - Genius Steals and all that...

So - yes - the web is the platform, aggregation not destination is RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT>..

And - YES YES do experiment please

BUT BUT - if it is like a microsite or a youtube channel - that implies it is a new standard format - a new interface layer to the web...

maybe it is... but I wonder...

let's discuss this at SXSW ;)

fxx

davidgillespie said...

It may not be perfect, but if we spend all our time waiting for Nike+ to roll around again, we're not going to get very far now are we?

Remember Newton said "If I have seen farther than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants". We're all getting there. Together. One bit at a time. through eachother's tiny learnings, successes and mistakes.

As it should be.

dirkthecow said...

Hear hear. And in fact is it really ground breaking? Well from a brand perspective yes it sure is.

I mean how many other brands would have entertained an idea that involved losing full control of their website?

AllGreenEditor said...

Smart post. Thanks. Similar sentiment from Dave Fleet today:

http://davefleet.com/2009/03/objectives/

baldness212 said...

its a wiki world. you can always fix it later. thats whats great. and exciting. and while i dont know if skittles (a brand eaten by kids) should have a website that loses control to the point of racist epithets being thrown up on it, i applaud them for their bravery.

Leo said...

I applaud you for standing up for experimentation and risk-taking. Surely now, more than ever, is the moment to take great leaps forward. And yet...
The Skittles experiment seemed to forget one crucial thing; some decent content. Its a bit like setting up the soundsystem for a band at a wedding and accidentally leaving the mic switched-on. Partygoers keep popping by, mouthing inanely or shouting obscenities into it. But it doesn't make for a great song.